Don’t be surprised if you’ve driven past Chinatown’s LV Cafe dozens of times without noticing it. I hadn’t until a friend with a nose for obscure food finds tipped me off: “Do you know about the bánh mì place next to the floor tile store?” Now that I’ve stopped by for Vietnamese-style sandwiches, it’s near the top of my quick eats/good value list.
It makes sense that LV Cafe has been something of a secret the past two years—larger, more eye-catching signs like Bund Shanghai and Cafe Sanuki dominate South Decatur. LV Cafe’s front has a semi-industrial look, and it’s indeed attached to a tile importer. The interior is on the austere side, too, with scant decorations filling the mostly bare walls, aside from a few folkloric figurines and zany rotoscoped celebrity portraits.
The reward for venturing inside is the excellent bánh mì deluxe combo, priced at just $3.50! It’s a faithful and toothsome version of Vietnam’s national stacker—crispy baguettes stuffed with pork pâté, pork sausage and roast pork loin, along with shredded daikon and carrots, sliced jalapeños and cilantro sprigs for garnish. It’s hardly revolutionary, but it’s tasty, inexpensive and made fresh to order.
Other sandwiches feature meatballs, grilled beef, chicken, fish cakes and even sardines with prices in the $3-$4 range. Look next to the countertop for pictures of numbered bánh mì options for easy ordering—even if you don’t read Vietnamese.
LV Cafe 3575 S. Decatur Blvd. #102 702-979-8811. Monday-Saturday, 8:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m.